Mikayla Patton’s (Oglala Lakota) newest series of work is an exploration of landscape in beaded form, stitched to handmade paper the artist had other intentions for before COVID-19 shut down her studio at IAIA. “I was planning on creating three-dimensional boxes with laser-cut patterns, but I had to pivot, real quick! Spending so much time indoors, you start to long for nature,” the artist says. Using traditional Lakota design as a starting point, Patton stitches beadwork to hand-pulped paper with references to New Mexico red earth and gold in the Black Hills.
“As an artist, I am exploring matriarchal ideology by navigating its complexities through Lakota artistry, design and geometric forms. My work evokes cultural connection and personal navigation of my relationships to everything.”
She began her artistic path in high school which led into art school at the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2011. Today, Patton works heavily in printmaking using an array of alternative processes such as ImagOn, stenciling, photo and ball grain plates as well as mixed media.
In her last year at IAIA Patton began exploring making her own paper. “I was doing an independent study,” she said in a 2019 Pasatiempo article. “I did a lot of research on traditional papermaking. I went to the thrift store and made my own screens using old stretcher frames. I used the weight of the press to compress the paper. Literally everything I used to make it was found.”
“Handmade paper has the texture of hide and using scraps of paper from materials that were already present makes me think of the way our people use literally every part of a buffalo. It’s all about resourcefulness and honoring the animal. In this case, I’m choosing to honor the animal by not using hide.”
In 2019, Patton earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts with a focus in printmaking. She received her degree from the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work was and continues to be shown in galleries and group shows across the U.S. as well as Bristol UK.
IMAGE: Red and Copper Mountains, Glass Czech beads on handmade paper, 5.5” x 5.5”